The names of four men accused of murdering Whanganui man James Thomas Butler can now be revealed.

Name suppression lapsed for Mark Robert Audain, Wayne David Reardon, Kemp Rangitahae Rippon and Daniel Shane Whareaorere in Whanganui District Court this morning.

All four pleaded not guilty to murdering Butler during a call-over conducted by audio visual link, in which security was ramped up and additional police personnel were in attendance.

A 27-year-old man also pleaded not guilty to Butler's murder and has retained interim name suppression. A sixth man charged with murder is based in Auckland and has not yet appeared.


Audain, Reardon, Rippon, Whareaorere and the 27-year-old also pleaded not guilty to three other charges.

They are participating in an organised criminal group, robbing Butler of a radio scanner and four mag wheels and doing grievous bodily harm to Brent Butler.

Tempers flared towards the end of procedings as the Auckland-based Judge remanded the accused in custody, setting a next call-over date of April 2.

"Get your fella's s**t sorted man," yelled a defendant.

"F***ing produce the evidence or f***ing let us go. Stop f***ing with our lives man and our families lives."

James Butler was found dead at a Wikitoria Rd property on the evening of April 22 2018.

The 53-year-old was confirmed to have been serving a community-based sentence at the time.

Police launched a homicide investigation following the incident and the National Dive Squad was called in to search the Whanganui River while police carried out forensic examinations at the scene.


There will be a hearing in the court again on December 11 at 9am in which the attendance of the defendants is excused. A case review hearing is set for February 5 at 9am.